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This article was published on January 7, 2010

    UAE VoIP to be legalized or blocked?

    UAE VoIP to be legalized or blocked?
    Fawzi Rahal
    Story by

    Fawzi Rahal

    Based in Dubai, Fawzi Rahal is the Editor of The Next Web Middle East and Regional Communications Director at G2. Follow him via Twitter. Yo Based in Dubai, Fawzi Rahal is the Editor of The Next Web Middle East and Regional Communications Director at G2. Follow him via Twitter. You can reach Fawzi at [email protected].

    voipIn case you didn’t know, VOIP is technically illegal in the UAE. But…

    The UAE Telecommunications Regulatory Authority will soon announce a policy to provide VoIP services in the UAE through the two ISPs: Etisalat and Du.

    Although VoIP services like Skype already run smoothly on both ISPs, Etisalat subscribers cannot access skype.com to download or recharge their accounts. Access to that website has always been allowed via Du.

    The statement from the TRA’s media office below is not too encouraging as it does not specify which VoIP services or protocols are to be allowed or if the ISPs will be selling their own VoIP services.

    The TRA is in the process of implementing a new VoIP policy. It is expected that this policy will be published soon, and will be made available on the TRA website. Pursuant to this new policy, customers may obtain VoIP services only through the licensees, Etisalat and du. The exception to this will be certain prescribed uses, which deal with educational and public interest purposes

    Etisalat’s statement is even less encouraging.

    VoIP is an additional service channel for customers to make international calls and etisalat will be introducing this service under TRA directives. This, however, is not expected to affect our revenue similar to what is being experienced in some other countries that allow and offer VoIP services. Etisalat will introduce VoIP as an additional service for our customers to choose and benefit from, over and above the current international calling plans

    Are UAE subscribers expected to have their current VoIP access blocked unless they pay an additional fee?